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Title: Signalling sustainability : drivers, types of signals and methods : a comparative study between certified and non-certified companies within the UK sustainable fashion sector
Author: Varda, Hebe
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 4896
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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The reasons and ways by which sustainability is signalled to stakeholders have changed over the years. The absence of a common sustainability framework urges companies to act individually in discovering the most suitable signals that covey their engagement with sustainability strategy. This study explores the mechanisms that create a connection between a sustainability signal and the fundamental value it represents, a process identified as a signal fit. The study also focuses on the reasons for signalling and investigates the types of sustainability signals and methods adopted by private companies in general and in the context of the sustainable fashion industry in particular. Qualitative research was used including observation, unstructured exploratory discussions, and semi-structured interviews with twenty-four companies. The participant companies were grouped into two clusters: certified and non-certified, depending on their official certification status regarding their sustainability practices. It is shown that companies set their signalling sustainability environment by four underlying drivers: strategic, legitimacy, market, and owner drivers. Companies send out signals of: sustainable manufacturing processes, transparency in processes, and sustainability as a core part of their corporate identity. These sustainability signals are integrated into the marketing mix. The two clusters are revealed to have similarities and differences in the content and structure of their sustainability signalling, and this led to the development of the “signalling sustainability process model”. The model explains the process of signalling and concludes that the signalling outcomes of the two company clusters can be different even though their starting points are characterized by similar drivers; certified companies achieve fit and gain positive outcomes, non-certified companies do not. This reality widely affects signalling sustainability structures in their whole environment. This study extends current CSR and signalling literatures by identifying the drivers, types of signals and methods behind signalling sustainability. It also identifies which homogeneous sustainability signals have a relevant impact on private companies of a small scale.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)